In the present world most people around the world have shut themselves up in quarantine to try and curb the coronavirus pandemic. This event has affected lives, livelihoods, and has little saving graces beyond some lucky recoveries. It might even cause a rise in digital platform trials as people try to figure out what to do when cooped up indoors. There are the usual films, TV shows, etc., but is there anything to expand the mind?
Maybe something about space and seeking out new life and civilizations? Yeah, Star Trek is an option. But what about the possibility of meeting real aliens? Can we contact life elsewhere in the universe? That is one of many questions Close Encounters of the Fifth Kind aims to investigate, a new documentary which is available on digital platforms as of April 7, 2020 through 1091 Media.
Written and directed by Michael Mazzola (On Dragon’s Wings 2012, Unacknowledged 2017), the documentary follows prominent extraterrestrial expert Dr. Steven Greer. He aims to reveal information that others would rather keep secret, such as how arcane spiritual knowledge may hold the key to contacting life on other planets. Alongside video and photo evidence, Greer talks to key figures like Adam Curry of Princeton’s PEAR Labs and former CIA program head Dr. Russell Targ. Some may wonder when contact with other planets will happen, but for others contact has already begun.
This all sounds a little off the wall to say the least, but is there something to it? Does the film still manage to fascinate, regardless? The short answer to both would be “No” and “Maybe,” respectively. How come? Well, that is the long answer.
Basically, with it being a follow-up to two prior documentaries, Close Encounters of the Fifth Kind does not dwell on how it concluded that these UFOs and aliens are the real deal. They just are – deal with it. It focuses more on talking to these beings- the titular Fifth Kind of Close Encounter. Through Greer’s CE5 protocols- the riskiest of all his pearls of wisdom- “free-thinkers and renegades” have been trying to talk to them and get a friendly dialogue going. That or they have been chatting to overhead planes, shooting stars or other night light phenomena.
One is left wanting for extra citation and clarification on its claims, like how the U.S. government’s literal xenophobia is an active part of dissuading friendly contact with the aliens. This not only involves media with alien bad guys, but how alien abductions are faked by the government to add to this narrative. This is presented all seriously with little against it. To point out every over-the-top claim would add more than this article has space for, but what is offered is fascinating. Albeit, for reasons other than Greer et. al. would prefer.
The documentary’s bigger picture seems to be more of a spiritual view of aliens, who are concerned for humanity and willing to help. Greer even says they have told his CSETI sources about this, and through meditation people can talk to them. There are interviews with practitioners of Greer’s CE5 protocols and their video footage as evidence of this, though they are largely just sightings than anything definitive. But their other recollections and comments on the protocols give it that religious aspect that makes one wonder if this is the beginnings of a cult or some benign version of Scientology.
For some positives, Close Encounters of the Fifth Kind is shot and edited rather well. Each still and footage clip fits its narrative and flows smoothly, albeit, with some eyebrow-raising examples. 2014’s Edge of Tomorrow, 1987’s Predator and the classic Twilight Zone episode To Serve Man all play a part in peppering the proceedings. It works better than its out-of-context flavor reels. However, the music is nice and atmospheric, too, with an occasional cheeky motif of the tune from 1977’s Close Encounters of the Third Kind. Even the intro was kind of funky with its electro tune and visual effects.
Still, if Close Encounters of the Fifth Kind sounds all too unbelievable, that is because it is. The establishment of the New World Order, Royal Family conspiracies, power of consciousness, etc., makes it a jumble of topics that even Fox Mulder would call BS on. The spiritual stuff is not any more believable, but it does make the film unique in its surreal tale. Otherwise, it is best saved for true believers and skeptics looking for an easy target. Thus, for these reasons, Cryptic Rock gives Close Encounters of the Fifth Kind 2 out of 5 stars.